Dec 10, 2008

These Cookies Rock...But They Don't Roll

Making Christmas cookies is a tradition for me, as it is for many others. I can remember making Christmas cookies with my mom and brothers, even when we were very young. I’m not sure how she managed making loads of cookies with three little kids “helping” her. I know very well the mess my son can make all by himself. We made many different cookies and candies each year...and dozens of each type. They were given to neighbors, teachers, and family.

Of all the cookies we made, two really stand out. Family favorites.

The first is the fight-inspiring Chewy Chocolate Cookie. My dad always sneaks them before my mom can package them on her cookie trays and she ends up having to make more. This results in the traditional “Why did you eat all the @! cookies” fight. We also used to fight over who got to eat the last few. They are really good...melt in your mouth, especially right out of the oven.

I remember one year specifically. It was the first year my youngest brother helped make cookies. We started out making peanut butter cookies, rolling them like meatballs as my mom showed us. My brothers and I really got into that. It isn't often that it's acceptable to get your hands full of food. Then we made the dough for the Chewy Chocolate Cookies. My mom turned her back to get the nuts from the cabinet. (Well...I guess I don’t get my love of mise en place from her.) She came back to the table to find my youngest brother’s hands as well as the kitchen table pasty with sticky chocolate dough. He looked up at her with his sad little puppy dog eyes (which he still has even though he’s now in his 30s) and said with a quivering lip, “these cookies don’t roll.” Ahh...a classic family story.

Over the years, I’ve played with the recipe a tiny bit. I don’t add nuts because my son doesn’t like them (but I do). I’ve also experimented with refrigerating and freezing the dough. The recipe makes a lot for just the three of us, plus the cookies are best and at their softest when fresh. After a day or two, they become crisp. I’ve found that the dough freezes fine. It can also be stored, wrapped, in the fridge. I like to divide in thirds. Make one third one day, when those are gone (like the next day), make another third. I’ve also found that I like the cookies more with a mixture of vanilla and almond extracts rather than just vanilla.

The second family favorite comes from my great-grandma Vick—her Peppermint Sticks. I have no idea where this recipe came from originally; she made it for as far back as I remember. Sometimes I wonder if it’s just a family thing—the love of this cookie. The first Christmas I was married, I made my family’s traditional cookie trays and gave them out to all my in-laws. When one of my husband’s cousins looked at the trays, he expressed concern over why I had packaged pieces of pizza with the cookies. I guess the melted candy canes make them sort of look like outsiders. It never crossed my mind though. Honestly, this is simply a chocolate chip cookie dough covered in crushed peppermint but everyone in my extended family goes crazy over these. Even people who don’t normally like peppermint.

This was my great-grandpa Vick’s favorite holiday cookie and is probably mine too. As a kid, I liked helping with this one because it involves beating up on some candy canes. I guess I still like doing that.

Linking with 
Gallery of Favorites 
(Cookie Exchange)

Food On Friday: Christmas Favorites @ Carole's Chatter

Chewy Chocolate Cookies
rom Ms. enPlace

1 ¼ c butter or margarine, softened
2 c sugar
2 eggs
2 c all purpose flour
¾ c cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla (or 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp almond extract)
1 c chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add eggs and vanilla; blend well. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda. Blend into creamed mixture. Stir in nuts, if desired. Drop by teaspoon onto ungreased baking sheet (insulated sheets do not work well for these cookies). Bake at 350 for 8-9 minutes. Do not overbake. Cookies will be soft. They will puff during baking and flatten upon cooling. Cool on baking sheet for 1 minute, then remove to racks to cool completely. Makes about 4.5 dozen.

Set up your ingredients. Be sure to let the butter soften.

Cream the butter and sugar then add eggs and vanilla (or vanilla and almond extracts).

Work on the dry ingredients. Mix flour, cocoa, and baking soda.

At this point, add nuts if you want. Because these cookies are best fresh-baked, I like to divide the dough and refrigerate or freeze for another day.

Drop by teaspoonfuls on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 8-9 minutes. Cool for 1 minute before removing. The cookies will be very soft right out of the oven.

Have at 'em!

Peppermint Sticks
from Ms. enPlace

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 egg, separated
1 tsp vanilla
1 (6 oz) package chocolate chips (I use semi-sweet)
1/2 cup (heaping) crushed peppermint (about 9 large candy canes)

Preheat oven to 350. Combine flour, sugar, butter, egg yolk, and vanilla in a large bowl. Stir in chocolate chips. Press dough into an ungreased 15x10" pan. It will seem like there isn't enough, but it will cover the pan. Beat egg white until frothy and brush over dough. Sprinkle with crushed peppermint. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool slightly, then cut into bars. Important: don’t cool completely before cutting--the peppermint candy will set and make cutting difficult.

What you'll need...
Crush the candy canes. I like to use a rolling pin. Notice the double bagging. Good idea unless you want a kitchen full of candy cane confetti.

Start making the dough by mixing flour, sugar, butter (softened first), egg yolk, and vanilla.
Stir in chocolate chips.
Place dough on a baking sheet and press until it covers the pan. Don't worry--it will cover the pan. I like to line my pans with foil because they are old and scratched. Hear that, Santa?
Beat the egg white until it is foamy. Brush over dough.
Sprinkle surface with crushed candy canes. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.
Cool slightly, but not completely (maybe 15 minutes) before cutting.
No, it's not pizza.


  1. Yum! Another goodie for Food on Friday. Thanks, Michelle

  2. Both your cookie recipes sound wonderful! I loved reading your post, with the wonderful family memories you shared. The 'cookie fight' really made me smile :)


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